By David Kotok
Special to The New Jersey Angler
The Chernobyl ant is, perhaps, the greatest dry fly I've
ever used. Its silhouette must look like a grasshopper or other large terrestrial
to some fish and like a dragonfly to others.
It has given me terrific results with bass in the northeastern United States as
a dragonfly imitation. Any sunny day when
dragonflies are in the air will do. You do not need a hatch underway for success
with a Chernobyl. You do need flat water.
Now, I know you can say that about a lot of top water flies and poppers, but the
Chernobyl seems to always work. Having tested it against alternatives, I always
come back to this as my preferred instrument. Technique for throwing the
Chernobyl requires a little attention. The hook can turn on a strike, which means
you have to re-center the hook each time there is a rise. In addition, because
of its weight, the fly has a tendency to land upside down more than half the time.
A slight twitch is enough to right it but you have to remember that the spinning
in the air can put a twist in your leader. Smoothing the leader between
fingertips every few casts is necessary to correct this deficiency.
Larger Chernobyl ants seem to work better than smaller
ones without regard to the size of the fish. Clearly larger
is better for big fish. I've also used the Chernobyl
as a strike indicator when nymphing. You need something
floating to signal a strike, why not make It something
that might be attractive? Every once in a while
some large fish will hit the Chernobyl, usually when you
are least ready for it. Something about the Chernobyl
silhouette on top of the water attracts large trout even
in conditions when you would not normally expect them
I've caught brown and rainbow trout in North America and South America with a
Chernobyl. I've also caught largemouth and smallmouth bass and nearly any
other type of top water feeding fish. It works. Good luck.